Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Two Faces of January (2014)

Director: Hossein Amini
Writers:  Hossein Amini, Patricia Highsmith
Cast:       Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Issac, Kirsten Dunst

A thriller centered on a con artist, his wife and a stranger (a minor con) who flee Athens after one of them is caught up in the death of a private detective.

Film marks the directorial debut of Hossein Amini, who was involved with the writing of Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive'. It is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel with the same name that was published in 1964. It has got a great cast and is magnificently shot on locations in Greece and Turkey. Being a very old school film with unspoken tension between the characters, it is no surprise that it didn't too well at the box office. The story takes unexpected turns throughout without having a big reveal at the end. The character Rydal (Oscar Issac) comes into contact with the couple basically because of him being curious about Chester (Viggo Mortensen) who looks like his now dead father, with whom he had an uneasy relationship. Rydal is an American tour guide, who is looking to fleece his customers, like all your guides do I guess. Chester reads that in him and it is kind of made clear that he sees a younger version of him in Rydal. Both of them don't trust each other and Chester is insecure about his wife, who has taken a liking to Rydal. The circumstances forces all of them together and dependent on each other. What is great about the film is that the nature of feelings between Rydal and Colette (Kirsten Dunst) is not made very clear to the audience and we are very well looking into it with similar suspicions that Chester has. I really didn't buy the father-son vibe (teenage angst kind) that is supposed to be going on though. 

Overall it is great watch with some great performances. Oscar Issac was also excellent in 'Inside Llewyn Davis'. Am glad that Viggo Mortensen told Peter Jackson to fuck off when asked to be in 'Hobbit Trilogy'. I saw the film after it being included in Empire's top 50 films of 2014.

Rating: 3.5/5